A well-known think tank in Ghana called IMANI has published the third installment of its Public Understanding and Literacy for Sentiment and Election analysis (PULSE) report.
About Ghanaians’ sentiment research on social media platforms in the run-up to the 2024 election, the report has yielded insightful information.
A twice-weekly curated examination, the PULSE report explores the opinions posted on Facebook, X (previously Twitter), YouTube, Web, TikTok, Instagram, Podcasts, and Newsfeeds.
With over 6.7 million active social media users and roughly 50% internet penetration in Ghana, or 15.7 million individuals, the research covers a sizable segment of the population, especially those eligible to vote between the ages of 18 and 64.
While the third episode of PULSE expands its focus to include other parties like the PNC, CPP, ACP, and PPP as well as independent candidates like the Butterfly Movement and the New Force, it still primarily focuses on the two major contenders, the NPP and the NDC. This reflects Ghana’s diverse political landscape.
Data from January 15 to February 11, 2024, for this episode shows significant changes in public opinion, especially after important occasions like Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia’s widely reported address on the economy on February 7.
In order to gauge the effect of Dr. Bawumia’s remarks on public opinion, new keywords like #itispossible and #Bawumiaspeaks were added in response to this incident.
With the use of artificial intelligence (AI), sentiment analysis sorts tweets and comments into three categories: good, negative, and neutral. This allows analysts to gain insight into the general perceptions of the candidates.
The public’s perception of both of the major contenders was mostly unchanged before Dr. Bawumia’s address. But after the speech, people’s opinions of Dr. Bawumia became significantly more negative; on social media, the percentage of negative remarks increased from 13% to 35%.
Notably, after Dr. Bawumia’s speech, the NPP saw a decline in favorable sentiment from 10.82% to 9.37%, showing a change in the public’s opinion of the party.
The research also notes how independent candidate Nana Kwame Bediako, also referred to as Cheddar, has become a well-known character in social media conversations, indicating a rising interest in alternative political viewpoints.
PULSE Episode 3 highlights the significance of social media in influencing voter perceptions and election outcomes, shedding insight on the dynamic nature of public sentiment in Ghana’s political landscape overall.
Stakeholders will keep a careful eye on these patterns as the election approaches in order to assess the changing political environment and adjust their tactics as necessary.
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